How do I help my child concentrate????

As a teacher I have watched kids in my classes for years really struggle to concentrate and be unable to sit still, to focus their mind or retain information. One thing to get clear first, this does NOT make your child "unintelligent", "naughty" or "wrong".

There's a number of factors and influences that can affect a child's ability to concentrate.

Firstly, maybe they are really "high" energy kids and need more physical activity and release throughout their day and during lessons. I often get kids to run some laps of the courts in between lessons, or get them to do mini little fitness bursts (including star jumps, burpees, knee tucks etc etc). It's the teacher's or parent's job to monitor their needs and help them when they look like they need a release. I also teach the kids to recognise for themselves when they feel they need to do something like this and get them to ask me if they could take "5". Empowering them with knowledge and tools is the most important part of this journey!!!

Sometimes kids can be in a really heightened state or in their "Sympathetic Nervous System" and this requires learning tools to be able to self-regulate and calm their body and mind to drop into their "Parasympathetic Nervous System". I teach kids about their Amygdala (their jumpy super hero) that goes into action when they encounter a perceived threat, or feel unsafe. When it is activated our brain releases chemicals such as cortisol and adrenalin. When our Amygdala is running the show, our Pre-Frontal Cortex is affected. The Pre-Frontal Cortex is responsible for making our decisions, our learning, our imagination and our social skills. The fastest way to de-activate the Amygdala is through our "Deep Belly" diaphragmatic breathing. I teach the children loads of games/activities to do with controlling their breath. When the Amygdala is calm, the Pre-Frontal Cortex can access the Hippocampus, which is where all of our memories and information is stored. Our Amygdala can stop us from making good decisions, learning and retaining knowledge.

Kids can possibly have stored or repressed "emotion" (energy) in their body from not expressing themselves during a traumatic or perceived traumatic experience. I have found tools such as "tapping" or even yoga beneficial for releasing energy. I teach kids how to use these in their daily lives and have witnessed massive transformation when they apply them consistently. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique-a scientific approach) involves tapping on acupressure points and using cognitive statements at the same time, to accept their current emotions, de-activate their fight/flight/freeze response and release the energy. Once this occurs they can re-frame their perceptions and and beliefs about the situation/experience.

Our environment is absolutely everything! We have all walked into a room where there has been yelling, arguing and chaos. How do you begin to feel?? Maybe chaotic and on edge? Our body has an electro-magnetic field around us and this is impacted by the energy in our environment. Long story short... A chaotic environment with adults who are in their heightened state means kids will be exactly the same! So what are some ways to manage your environment??? Ensure you take time out, practise self care and are able to be in your Parasympathetic Nervous System when in their presence as often as you can. We are all human and sometimes this isn't actually possible. So why not model to kids the tools you are teaching them in this moment, great for them to see an adult use them in action. Anchoring kids to calm music, calming smells (lavender, balance oils in the diffuser will help) and pictures around the room makes a big difference and can really change their state. Removing technology and screen time where possible, encouraging more one to one human connection and interaction. Having a space where kids can "chill out", read a book, do some yoga or meditation works wonders at home or in the classroom.

I work one on one with kids both online and in person. I also teach both parents and teachers all of these tools via workshops online and in person. If you want some tools or help to empower your child, reach out!


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